Subjects: AAT Decisions; Labor's border failures.
Peter Dutton, the Home Affairs Minister, joins me on the line. Minister good afternoon.
Good afternoon Ben.
Why don't we start by you answering that question: how long can we have this crazy situation continue?
Well Ben, we've got a situation where people are appointed for seven years as members of this tribunal. So we're getting to the end of some of the appointments that Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard made.
It's incredibly frustrating for me, for the public, for most of all the families and friends of victims involved. I can understand the frustration and I share it every day because I make visa cancellations. I cancelled more visas in the last 12 months than Labor did during their six years in government. And to see the decisions overturned, it is frustrating.
So we are looking at ways in which we can reform the process, but obviously people have a right to natural justice. They have a right to their day in court, but at the moment I think taxpayers, the Australian public and most importantly the victims and their families are being taken for a ride.
So we've got a lot of work to do in this space, but we are working as hard as we can to kick people out of our country that are doing the wrong thing. People who have committed multiple offenses. We're working very hard to make sure that we can rid our community of them because if we do that I think we've got a safer community in which we can live.
The families of Korinne Aylward and Greg Tucker say the tribunals that kept this bloke in the country, they have blood on their hands. Now I know that's a harsh and blunt way of putting it, but at the end of the day these killings wouldn't have happened if people would have just followed the decisions that were made by the department.
Well Ben, any of us who lost a family member or saw somebody that we loved suffer at the hands of one of these criminals would ask exactly the same questions. So the families are entitled absolutely to be angry, to questioning of the process, what happened here. As you say, the tribunal was a forerunner to the AAT. It's now been folded into the AAT.
And we look at countless examples where the decision has been made to cancel a visa, to deport someone and it's been overturned by the AAT. Individual members of the AAT would argue well, you don't have all the facts and you don't understand the case like we do. Well I think frankly there's a lot that we can look at by way of decision which is at odds with the community standard and I think we should restore the community standard. I think there are a lot of decisions that are made frankly that the public and victims of crime are completely bewildered with and we're looking at ways in which we can improve the system.
We're speaking to Peter Dutton the Home Affairs Minister. Minister, are there people sitting on these tribunals who, based on their own track record, aren't fit to be sitting on these tribunal?
Yes there are many good people within the tribunal. People make good decisions and there are others frankly that I don't think should be part of the tribunal.
We're, as I say, working through a number of appointments made through the Rudd and Gillard years in particular. For some of those people, we look at their track record, we look at their judgements and I'm happy to support the decision around those people not continuing on as members of the tribunal.
I'm sure if you had a choice, you'd just put a line through some of these tribunals all together and say oh well the Australian people vote for political parties to come into office based on what they're going to do with the country and then the Prime Minister chooses who's going to be in charge of this portfolio like Home Affairs, so therefore Peter Dutton is the bloke who's going to make these decisions.
It must be so frustrating for you to have these decisions overturned by tribunals when you've got people sitting on the tribunal who've not been elected by the people of Australia.
Look, I think people should have their fair day in court. People should have the opportunity to have their case heard and the decision of the Minister reviewed. But at the moment this process just goes on and on and on and I think the victims of crime are the ones who suffer most and the future victims of crime as well and this is a case in point.
So there's a lot of work that we've done, as I say, to tidy the mess up. In the end, the Minister of the day needs to be prepared to make the decisions cancel visas.
One of the things that we saw under Labor – and I believe if Bill Shorten was elected the next election we would see again – is a complete withdrawal by the Minister of the day, a lack of preparedness to make these tough decisions.
I think people coming into our country, they're guests in our country, the same as if you invite somebody into your home. If they're coming into your home and they're trashing the place, they're assaulting your children and your wife, you showed them the door pretty quickly and that's been my approach as well. If people are committing crimes here in our country against Australian citizens, they don't deserve to be here and we are cancelling their visas that a record number.
Minister, let me ask you about something else before I let you go. Labor's draft national platform. You were just speaking about what you'd expect from Labor if they got into office. We see this in the last few days where they're talking about what they want to do with border security and other issues around that space if they get into office. They're talking about an overhaul of Home Affairs, about shifting asylum seekers out of mandatory detention after 90 days and they also want everything to be on the table. They want a bit of a review of how things are going at the moment.
I thought things were going pretty well. I thought most people would be saying the last thing we want is Labor to take a step back down the path that Kevin Rudd took us, where we had 50,000 people coming here, 1200 people dying.
We're only still cleaning up Labor's mess now, years after and this has cost us billions of dollars. As you say, at least 1200 people drowned at sea. We can't have the people smugglers back in control.
I think this is a huge problem for Bill Shorten and the fact that he's giving in to the left of his party and to the Greens on this issue is just a disaster for our border protection and our border integrity. It's a recipe for boats restarting and people should recognize that in the run up to the next election.
I know you're about to jump on a plane. I'll let you go and we'll talk soon. Thank you so much for your time.
Thanks Ben, take care.